Massachusetts
09 February 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

Domain Name Association backs UDRP-style copyright infringement system


The Domain Name Association (DNA) is supporting calls to implement a UDRP-style third-party system for copyright infringement.

As part of four recommendations issued to members on 8 February to promote a ‘healthy’ domain name system, the DNA is backing the introduction to “address illegal infringement of copyrighted material through the use of domain names”, according to registry Donuts vice president Mason Cole, who leads the healthy domains initiative committee.

The committee has proposed registry-specific frameworks, meaning registry participation would be voluntary.

Participating registries would enact a policy requiring all domain name registrants to commit to alternative dispute resolution proceedings. They would also need to take all reasonable steps to enforce decisions.

The system would not preclude litigation, with remedies limited to cancellation or transfer of the domain name. Like the UDRP, it would not allow for monetary damages.

Above all, according to the committee, the system’s “legal construct must be sound”. It must accurately reflect applicable law, be flexible in the face of copyright laws varying among jurisdictions, ensure due process for respondents and that complaintants pay panel fees, and not allow registries or registrars to be named as parties.

Cole said: “The system would be available for voluntary participation by registries and registrars who would like to work with content owners to combat illegal activity on a more efficient and cost-effective basis, but still adhering to key tenets of due process.”

The four recommendations also cover enhancing child abuse, online pharmacies and cyber security, and follow a year-long process of consultation with registries, registrars, law enforcement, civil society, child protection authorities, pharmaceutical experts, content providers and others.

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